9. Jews require different religious and spiritual awareness and resources.

Sometimes, in trying to be “inclusive”, non-Jewish CPE supervisors or peers say that they come from a Judeo-Christian background. In our experience, too many Christians think that Jews do as well. Jews do not. Even if “Judeo” were “Judaic” and not merely a modifier for “Christian”, it would still not be a correct designation. For Jews, Judaism is not a prototype - or merely the roots - of another religion that now has been “improved”. For Jews, Judaism is very complete in itself and it continues to have a full life of its own. And, our Hebrew Bible – one of our most hallowed and revered objects is not the “Old Testament” which has been replaced by a newer version. It is the irreplaceable Testament.

Since one of the goals of CPE is to assist patients (residents, et al) in using their own religious resources and in (re)integrating within their own religious communities, it is unacceptable for supervisors or chaplains to use non-Jewish Scriptures to pray with Jewish students or patients - no matter how fitting the selection may seem.

Several years ago, a Christian colleague told Taylor that when he did not say “The Lord’s Prayer” or invoke the name of Jesus or the Trinity in a prayer with a patient, he felt as though he was composing e-mail and not clicking on “send”. “How”, he wondered, “could the message be ‘received’ if it wasn’t ‘sent’?” It took weeks before he accepted the Jewish theological reality that every time he clicked on his “send” with a Jewish patient, i.e. he prayed in some way from the Christian Bible or Christian tradition, it was tantamount to clicking on “delete” with that patient.  

© 2004 , Bonita E Taylor & David J. Zucker

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